In case you’re keeping track, you can peek at the beginning of this discussion here. (I highly recommend it!)
Social media are new, and their value is not entirely clear, especially to businesses that are doing just fine as they are, thank you very much. Heck, it’s even possible that blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other Web 2.0 and social networking services will turn out to be passing fads, in which case, maybe companies that ignore them will have the last laugh on the matter. I don’t know about that, but I will say this: the generation that grew up on the Internet and began to enter the labour market over the last decade is unlikely to want to shift to a way of doing things that doesn’t involve the Internet and its associated applications and gadgets. And their children—well, who can say how connected they’ll be. It would take an extremely authoritarian approach to return to the workplace of our parents, and likely an approach that looks backward rather than ahead. But enough of prediction, let’s talk about some interesting stuff!
One interesting thing that’s happening—and that employers (and even employees) almost certainly haven’t widely considered—is that employees who use social media are self-training, whether they’re at work or not. No one can say whether services like Twitter and Facebook are fads and if they have lasting power, but I think it’s fair to say that these services, along with email, blogs and, of course, the Internet in general have changed interpersonal and corporate communication in such a way that there’s no going back to landlines, facsimiles and standard postal service.
In other words, eventually—if not already—employers will want employees who understand how the social web and its new forms of communication work; and by allowing their employees to use social media during work hours, that is precisely what employers will get, whether workers use the things for personal or professional use. Think about that for a minute: employees engaged in learning valuable and marketable skills while doing their work—and doing it with pleasure.
What does this have to do with time management?
Well, it seems to me that today’s workplace is often about getting more done in less time with fewer resources, all while offering employees a challenging and engaging environment so they don’t jump ship to a competitor. Naturally, employees learn while performing their daily tasks, but when they can be happy about learning, without even realizing that’s what they’re doing, and they can advance their own and their employer’s goals at once, it’s like expanding time and stuffing more work into it—with the employee’s blessing.
Maybe instead of fretting over employees wasting time on social networks, employers could create teams to work on projects that would look for ways to incorporate social media into the business in order to improve time management and productivity. This sort of initiative—if managed properly—is sure to engage employees and encourage them to focus on their work, while offering potentially significant returns for employers.
Is it possible that time management could be fun?
First Reference Human Resources and Compliance Assistant Editor
I’ve got a couple more things to say about this, so look out for part three in the next few days.